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tv   The Communicators  CSPAN  June 26, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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best interests of the next generation, not the next election. this is a time to make tough to that end, republicans on the budget committee have already identified $1.3 trillion in specific spending cuts we would implement right now to make washington do more with less and help small businesses put people back to work. these are specific, common- sense ideas, such as canceling unspent tarp bailout funds and "stimulus" money, that would help us focus on creating more jobs, not more debt. we also propose reducing federal employment and freezing government pay. instead of growing government, we need to restart the engine of economic growth. of course, this is just a starting point. much more needs to be done to set our nation on a sustainable economic course. we need to start reining in unnecessary spending now so that we can boost the economy and work together to address our nation's long term fiscal challenges. it is our shared responsibility to take on the challenges
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before us to make sure that our kids and our grandkids have a better life. let's begin this important work today. let's make certain we do not simply retreat to the same failed policies. let's make the tough, forward- looking choices that will restore the promise and prosperity of this exceptional nation - and let's do it together. thanks for listening. >> c-span is now available in more than 400 million homes, all as a public service, created by american cable companies. this week, on "the communicators," the fcc's attempt to reclassify parts of internet broadband. joining us are republican representative john shimkus and democrat mike doyle. >> the past couple weeks on "the
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communicators," we have looked at the issue of reclassifying broadband services from title one to tie to -- to title to. we talked with the industry about their position. we talked to the ranking republican on the s.e.c.. this week, we are joined by two members of congress to get their perspective on the issue of reclassifying broadband service. we are joined by david hatch, of congress daily, who will be joining on the questioning. senator dole is joining us from capitol hill. congressman shimkus, why are you opposed to reclassifying broadband from title 12 title to? >> there is no problem now. the internet has been a boon
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for a decade. we are afraid that as the national government intervenes to make decisions to control the pipe that there will be less intervention, less innovation, and less job creation. it is like in 1933 regulation. trying to use those laws to force a digital age is crazy talk. >> democrats in both chambers have announced plans to update the communications act. do you support that effort, and is there any chance that telecom legislation could emerge this year? >> not this year. the last rewrite took about six to eight years. we have been talking about it even when republicans are a majority, but the s.e.c. is broken up. they are still packed into an environment that does not
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reflect the digital age. i would be excited about it. i think it would help the ssa in their day-to-day management of business, talking about the new technology today and getting a new look at it. that shows you how quickly this industry moves. the 96 telecom act -- we now need to readdress it for a new era. >> congressman shimkus, is this a backdoor way of getting net neutrality? >> you are right. how did you guess. that is exactly what they want to do. the problem we have with that is if you are a capitalist and believe in supply and demand what they want to do is have the government control what i am going to call the pipe and let the government determine what gets sent over lines and be the cop, verses allowing the competitive market of the
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capitalist system. if the price eventually come constrained, which they are not now, we want to incentivize the buildup of more pipes and more jobs. it is the usual debate in washington. centralized control verses bring in the private sector to meet the needs of america. that is why it my subcommittee on telecommunications is so exciting. it just moves too fast. new things happen way before government can get its hands around it. that is the benefit of growth. >> as a quick follow-up to my question, if there is going to be telecom legislation what would you want it to accomplish? >> i think this whole convergence of voice, video, data, and the stove pipes that uc really need to be converge, and this debate is a perfect example of how reforming the
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telecom act, what you cannot do is take data information under title 2, which was how we regulated ma bell from route 3 dial phone to rotary dial phone. now lot to do that for data services, where you have folks breakout data flows differently. that is why you have to get the good minds of the day. we want more freedom for innovation. we do not want government control. >> as broadband becomes the new national medium do you think there is a case to be made for regulating it such as the telephone companies were regulated four years? >> it depends on whether you believe regulation lowers costs and provides higher quality service. capitalists believe if you want
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higher quality service you have to incentivize competition. the role for government is to prevent monopolies and duopolies, people having so much control that they are able to exert market pressure to provide less services at higher costs. but as long as you can make the case that you have a vibrant, competitive market, where people are trying to give higher quality service at lower costs, we should not be involved. >> as you know, there have been reports this week that s.e.c. officials have been meeting privately with telecom executives to possibly broker a legislative deal. should the agency be trying to seek a compromise with the industry, or has it overstepped its bounds? >> i think this is really kind of the debate now that we are talking about here in washington right now, where is there a legislative process? is there a role for policy
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debates, law signed by the president, and then you empower the regulators, reverses the regulators or someone else cutting the deal up to the regulatory aspect? we have a separation of power in our constitution for a reason. we do not want the executive branch to overstep its ability through a regulatory team of changing u.s. law through the regulatory process. >> when you say that, do you think congress needs to have a role? is that part of the argument against the fcc moving forward with what they are calling the third way? >> exactly. that is the issue of let's rewrite the fcc and the telecom act. let's restructure the current law of the land, which then gives guidance to the s.e.c.. we cannot have the s.e.c. promulgating rules that might be subverting the current law of the land. >> the fcc chairman says his
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proposal is a ompromise that would exempt broadband carriers from most regulations that would normally apply under title to. do you agree that his approach would amount to that? >> he does not have the authority to establish a third wave of a regulatory regime. if we want to do that, that should be to the legislative process. they are to enact and enforce the law. if the law is outdated, we do not manipulate the process through the regulatory regime to create new regulations that may subvert the law of the land. let us get the fcc's input on a rewrite. maybe we all can agree. >> to under 82 members of congress have written a letter to the s.e.c. expressing their opposition to the fcc moving
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forward. in fact, the commissioner told us last week that by september they hope to be moving into the decision mode. will congress act before then? >> i doubt it because of course you have chairman waxman, ed markey, and those who want to push the net neutrality debate and do not want to intervene. even the president has really had the position of net neutrality as he ran. taking that altogether, i think who ought to be angry and frustrated are the bipartisan group with their letters. there were 60 democrats and 170 republicans, the vast majority of the house and senate, saying not to do this. they are subverting the will of the legislative branch. they are usurping power authhrity.
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>> congressman john shimkus is a republican from illinois. we are joined also by the reporter from congress daily. >> just as a quick follow-up on the third wave proposal, since you find that so objectionable is there an alternative you support that would give the s.e.c. the regulatory certainty it needs to move forward with broadband regulation? -- that would give the fcc the regulatory certainty it needs to move forward with broadband regulation? >> i would ask where the problem is. where issthe outcry? even the three cases of individuals who claimed a problem, even in some of the national story lines, resolve their problems by going through a different isp, or is resolved between the i s p and the company. the have not made the case this is a problem. this is a political debate by
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major interests on the west coast that helped support the democratic party. that is why they are moving on this agenda. we have been asking -- show us where there is a problem? there is not a problem right now in this whole debate. >> who are those political interests? >> you know who they are. our friends at google are one of the major focuses. they have their interest. i support the right of people to collectively organize to air their grievances and get a government change. i am not disputing the right to do that. they have supporters and allies. that is what this is about. >> as you know, the house and senate congress committees have scheduled a session for tomorrow and friday which is basically a stakeholder session with telecom industry representatives to discuss the prospects for legislation.
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will republicans be fully included in the planning for this? what do you hope to accomplish with that session? >> i do not know the answer. my staff was given a heads up. we were invited to that meeting. i have not been told that. it is an interesting thing. everybody has great respect for the chairman. he says the right things. he wants to be inclusive. sometimes he is more inclusive than others. telecom crosses partisan lines. a whole bunch of democrats signed one letter. a whole bunch of republicans. the interstate commerce is more original than partisan. it is something we can do. i just do not know who is invited. >> in your view, this process -- will it affect the national broadband plan implementation? >> i think just on the periphery.
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the national broadband is part of the stimulus bill, the mapping, the unserved and underserved debate. could that eventually go into how the then regulate the internet? that is what we think it is, is government intervening in deciding who gets access when, or may be eventually raises funds for the deployment of that. it is questionable what will be done for broadband deployment without a broadband map. the california communication commissioner basically told me twice that you are foolhardy to spend money for broadband deployment if you have not mapped. we are not finished mapping yet and we're already sending out billions of dollars to compete with established providers. it is a frustrating time here in washington. >> there has been talk about a possible appropriations rider to
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block the fcc and using its funding to implement both the third wave proposal and the proposed changes on net neutrality. is that something you will actively support? >> yes, but first of all we have to say that in 2006 if you cannot budget you cannot govern. we do not have a budget. if you do not have a budget, how you do appropriations? i think the plan is to wait until after the elections. this may all be overcome by then. if we did have an appropriation bill, that is a way in which we can stop, through the funding stream, the fcc from doing something we believe would be extra-legal, not based upon the fcc act, but based upon their own views of how they want to change the telecom act regulations. >> congressman john shimkus of
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illinois, thanks for talking about this issue. >> my pleasure. >> next, we talk with mike doyle, a democrat from pennsylvania who is in favor. in a recent letter you wrote to the s.e.c. chairman you said that reclassification of broadband services should happen while at the same time congress should address the issue of the telecommunications act and updating it. how can those happen concurrently? how do you see that happening? >> the problem is it is not happening concurrently. congress does need to do this. our fear is we're not going to do this by the end of the year. we simply cannot wait that long. the fcc has to act in our absence. i think what the chairman has proposed makes a lot of sense to me. >> if congress does not act on telecom policy this year do you
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see it -- do you still think it is important the reclassification happen, and why? >> it is important. we have to roll up this broadband plan as soon as possible. we want to make sure every american has access to high- speed internet. this is being put in jeopardy. the fcc needs regulatory posture -- regulatory certainty so this plan is not subject to litigation. it is important they are doing what they're doing. >> you also serve on the subcommittee for communications of the house energy and commerce committee. >> as you know, the commerce committee in both chambers will be holding the first in a series of stakeholder sessions tomorrow about prospects for telecom legislation. what did the democrats hope to achieve with the sessions? >> one of the things we want to do is empower consumers. we want to make it possible for
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anyone to go on and isp and be able to visit nebraska web site they want to visit with any device that want to use. for us, this is about the empowerment of the consumer, and to make sure we are providing access to small businesses, to rural america, so that every american has access to high- speed internet. that is what we are going to try to achieve with these meetings. >> to you expect that telecommunications legislation will be offered this year in the house? if so, who would introduce it when, and what would seek to accomplish? >> the clock is running out on us this year. many of us fear we are not going to be able to get this done in this session, which is why i think it is important in that vacuum that the s.e.c. has to take some action. i would like to see it happen. i think it does happen that we will do it through the regular order. it will come to our subcommittee
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chairman. we will try to keep the process in the regular order of hearings and do it the right way. but as i said the amount of days left in session in congress are short. we have a lot of other issues in front of us. my fear is that this will not get done in this session and will be something we will take up next year. >> 282 of your colleagues in the house have signed a letter opposing the chairman's third way. can congress stopped the fcc's regulatory model as it is going to the process? >> i hope not. i think if members clearly understood what was at stake here and realized they share the same goals as many of us on the committee who support the third way that we would see a different tone in congress. people want consumers to have this access. we want to empower them, not the i s p is. most democrats feel that way.
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i think a lot of people who signed the letter that do not sit on the committee may not have access to all the information and all the issues that were out there. i think once we have a chance to speak to members and get more information out about this -- about what this means to the consumer you will see more people move to this direction. >> do you believe the broadband services should be rate regulated? >> no. the chairman is not proposing that. i think that is an important question. we are not looking to affect rates with this request. the basic thrust of the reclassification is on consumer protection. as i said earlier, we want to make sure that anybody can visit any web site. the isp does not control that. the consumer controls that. what the chairman is proposing in this reclassification is a light regulatory touch. it is not being opposed by all of the industry. there is some opposed to it and others that are working with the
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chairman. it is important for everybody to understand that is not our focus. we do not want to stifle investment. we do want to empower consumers. >> among the critics of the third wave proposal art 77 house democrats, including the former chairman of the house commerce committee. why are so many members of your own party opposed to the chairman? >> i do not want to speak for my colleagues. i guess they all have their own reasons for taking the positions that they take. i think the chairman is in a tough position. the contest his ruling -- no one expected the ruling to come down this way. but it did. the chairman is in a tough position. if he moves forward without certainty it opens us up to litigation. i think what he is trying to do
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is do this in the best possible way to put some consumer safeguards in a basically unregulated market. it is not the heavy handedness. >> the seven companies are telling wall street this is not going to affect their investments at all. they are going to move forward. meanwhile, they are telling pennsylvania avenue this is going to spiral into recession. they cannot have that both ways. everyone of these companies has told their investors this is not going to affect their plans. >> our second guest today is
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congressman mike doyle. he serves on the subcommittee on communications. we are joined by david hatch. >> has the move to adopt tougher net neutrality regulations -- why does congress need to get involved? >> i am not sure we do. i believe the fcc does have the flexibility under the communications act to do what they are doing. i hope they do it. i do not feel a need to be involved with this. we can have some plan worked out. everybody is looking to move forward. we do not want to see nothing working in a vacuum. that is bad for everybody. we want to see this move forward.
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the chairman need to do this. >> had a talk with your subcommittee chair or henry waxman about this issue? >> we talk all the time. we have regular caucuu meetings within the committee and subcommittee. i think everybody shares the same goals. we do not want to see this plan deployed. we all want to do what we can to make sure that happens as rapidly as possible. >> there has been some controversy this week about the stakeholder sessions the fcc has been conducting with lobbyists and executives. is it the proper role of the s.e.c. to broker a legislative deal or should that be the domain of congress? >> i do not think anything untoward is going on. i think what the chairman is trying to do is o air out all the concerns stakeholders have. the fact that stakeholders have
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a chance to let the fcc know what their concerns are, how they see opportunities to move forward, where there might be consensus -- these are good things. i do not have a problem with it. i think that is a good role for the fcc to have. we want everyone to have a say. we want to fashion a good policy to move forward. i do not have a problem with it. >> in your letter to the chairman on may 26, you say that congress needs or should review and possibly update the 1996 telecommunications act. given the fact that technology moves so quickly, how do you develop a framework for regulation for telecommunications without stifling innovation, without having that heavy hand? >> i think first of all that you want an fcc that has a light touch. we have pretty much an unregulated market. what the chairman is proposing is a light touch.
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it is difficult. every time we do a new telecommunications act, new technology comes up, which is why the fcc needs to have some flexibility to respond to these changes that happen in the market. this is not something congress comes back every year there is a new technology or a new change. we need to build into this act flexibility for them to be able to respond to changes in technology. i think that is the right way to do it and the way we can keep current as technology changes. >> you mentioned earlier that there could be an impact on the national broadband plan. that plan was released in march amid very high expectations. could you talk more about the potential risk to the plan as a result of all of this political jockeying? >> not so much the political jockeying but the court decision, and what has done this into question is the recent
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decision with comcast. that has put into question whether or not the fcc has the authority to do some of the regulations they need to do to move the broadband plan forward. the fear is if we roll up this plan without providing regulatory certainty we could open ourselves to litigation. you will see various parts of this plan either held up or put in abeyance because of court cases. that is what we are concerned about. that is why the chairman is doing what he is doing. that is why i support the s.e.c. doing something. congress is not going to be able to act soon enough. we do not want to see this plan delayed much further. we want to roll it out. it would not be wise to roll it out without establishing a regulatory framework in which we can do that. >> as you know, republicans have been extremely critical of the chairman and his proposal. are any of their concerns valid, or is this all about trying to
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score political points? >> i do not know. i do not want to guess the motivations. i think the chairman is trying to do this with a light touch. i think he is trying to find a way to work in a difficult environment right now with the court case that has happened, and in view of the fact that congress is not going to be able to act in time. this is washington, d.c.. we play politics down here from time to time. some people may see this as an opportunity. there is a debate over net neutrality and whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. those folks who believe in net neutrality and want to see consumers empowered think the chairman is making good moves. the other side does not support net neutrality. does that do not support it probably see this as an opportunity to make sure that some of the rules the chairman wants to implement to empower consumers do not happen. >> a lot of commentators are saying and some republicans are
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saying that this third way could land telecommunications policy in the courts for several years. do you agree? >> the do not think so. i think what the chairman is trying to do is take a very light touch. if you look at what he is trying to do and give a fair reading to it, he is basically taking four of the principles that many people basically agreed to and adding one or two more provisions of consumer protection. like i said, this is about empowering consumers. the government does not want to tell people where they can go and where they cannot go on the internet. when you go on the internet and shoes and i s p you should be able to look at any website you want to look at. many i espy's have their own video services. you do not want consumers to only see the video service that i s p happens to own. you want to be able to see all the video services throughout the country and let the market decide which serviceo

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